ERIE, Pa., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the National Retail Federation's 2013 Independence Day survey, seven in 10 Americans who plan to celebrate the 4 th of July this year will attend a barbecue, cookout or picnic. That amounts to 164 million people, a record number in that category. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20041112/ERIELOGO) To help people stay safe at parties this holiday weekend and all throughout the summer, Erie Insurance shares common outdoor party mishaps and simple ways to avoid them. Leave fireworks to the professionals. 9,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2011, according to the most recent data published by the National Fire Protection Association. An estimated 17,800 fires were started by fireworks that year, causing $32 million in property damage. NFPA's data also show that fireworks cause two out of five reported fires on a typical Independence Day, more than any other cause of fire. Erie Insurance has seen both personal injury and property damage claims caused by fireworks, including one in which a customer was shooting off fireworks in their yard and the sparks landed on a neighbor's house, catching it on fire. "Fireworks are wonderful way to celebrate our country's birthday, but we recommend watching them at a community-sanctioned location, rather than setting them off yourself," said Matt Myers, senior vice president, Claims at Erie Insurance. "There are just too many things that can go wrong, especially in a group of people and when children are nearby." Myers added that if you allow children to play with sparklers, which NFPA says account for a quarter of all fireworks-related injuries, you should extinguish them completely in water to avoid having them unexpectedly reignite.